The Kontselidze Family’s Construction Business in Batumi: Alleged Corruption and Conflict of Interest - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

The Kontselidze Family’s Construction Business in Batumi: Alleged Corruption and Conflict of Interest

24 April, 2024

The construction amnesty law, initiated by Batumi Majoritarian MP Resan Kontselidze, raises concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest since his nephews, Vakhtang and Gocha Kontselidze, are in the construction business and another nephew, Archil Kontselidze serves as the head of the Batumi Municipal Inspection responsible for overseeing constructions.

Resan Kontselidze (Georgian Dream) was one of the initiators of the amendments to the Spatial Planning, Architectural and Construction Activity Code in the Parliament of Georgia. As a result of these amendments, an amnesty was introduced for buildings and structures in the city of Batumi that were constructed without building permits or in violation of permits. This amnesty applies to constructions completed before September 26, 2022. 

The Batumi City Hall confirmed that Kontselidze’s construction companies: “Townhouse Batumi”, “Rego Group” and “Home Side Terrace” built up to 35,000 square meters of a residential area, while “Elite Construction” and “Elite Construction Group” did not receive building permits. The Municipal Inspection did not provide the requested public information about potential violations during the construction. 

Questions left unanswered by the construction supervisory body

On February 2, 2023, Transparency International Georgia requested information from Batumi City Hall, the administrative authority responsible for issuing construction permits, in order to study the situation in the construction sector of Batumi. The Batumi City Hall timely provided the requested public information. However, the construction supervisory body - the Batumi Municipal Inspection failed to provide public information on the FOI request of February 6 and the repeated request of April 5.

Transparency International Georgia requested the following information from the Batumi Municipal Inspection: the number of unauthorized constructions identified from January 1, 2020 to February 6, 2023 and the list of individuals/legal entities engaged in illegal construction, the number of permit violations and the list of violators, details on persons/organizations fined for various types of violations categorized by the type of infringement specifying the corresponding amounts of fines and lists of completed projects.

Transparency International Georgia also requested information on the correspondence related to construction between the Batumi Municipal Inspection and the institutions of the Government of Adjara as well as members of the Parliament of Georgia and the Supreme Council of Adjara.

The actions of the Batumi Municipal Inspection have raised reasonable suspicions, suggesting that the inspection may be concealing violations associated with Kontselidze-linked companies. This suspicion is further compounded by the fact that the inspection is under the leadership of Archil Kontselidze. It is also reasonable to assume that Kontelidze’s initiation of the construction amnesty in Batumi was motivated by such violations. 

The Kontselidze family

Resan Kontselidze, along with his nephews Archil and Gocha Kontselidze, held high-ranking positions for several years in the Adjara Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.

From 1993 to August 2020, Resan Kontselidze held high positions in the Adjara Police and Prosecutor’s Office: over the years he served as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Adjara, the Prosecutor of Adjara and the Head of the Investigation Procedural Supervision Unit, the Head of the Keda District Police Division and the Deputy Director of the Adjara Police Department. He won in the 2020 Parliamentary Elections and became a majoritarian MP from Batumi. 

Archil Kontselidze, Resan Kontselidze’s nephew, was the Head of the Urekhi Police Unit of the Khelvachauri District Division until December 31, 2019, and since December 26, 2019, he has been the Director of the Batumi Municipal Inspection. The Inspection oversees construction activities in Batumi. 

Gocha Kontselidze, another nephew of Resan Kontselidze, in 2017-2018 was the head of the Organizational Support Unit of the Police Department of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. After leaving the police, he moved into the construction business and today he is the director and 100% shareholder of Rego Group LTD, the founder and 60% shareholder of Elite Construction Group LTD, the director and 100% shareholder of Home Side Batumi LTD, the director and 100% shareholder Home Group 2023 LTD, director and a 50% shareholder of Home Side Terrace LTD.

Archil Kontselidze’s brother, Vakhtang Kontselidze, is also in the construction business. He is the founder and 100% shareholder of the construction company Townhouse Batumi.

Furthermore, Archil Kontselidze’s wife, Nino Devadze, is the director of the construction companies Townhouse Batumi and Elite Construction Group. In 2020, she worked for the construction companies Home Side Terrace and Rego Group and represented their interests at the National Agency of Public Registry. From February 1, 2021 to the present, Nino Devadze is the advisor of the construction company Elite Construction - Nino Devadze leads, consults and represents the companies whose activities are under the legal oversight of her husband, Archil Kontselidze.

Constructions by companies linked to the Kontselidze family

Townhouse Batumi LTD was established on January 10, 2023. The company’s owner and director, Vakhtang Kontselidze along with Nino Devadze, shortly after its establishment, purchased a plot of land at #93 Adlia Street in Batumi, obtained a building permit from the municipality and started the construction of an apartment building.

 

Ongoing construction of an apartment building on Adlia Street by Townhouse Batumi

Gocha Kontselidze’s wife, Marika Chkonia, founded Rego Group LTD on September 8, 2017, and subsequently, on October 4, 2018, she transferred 100% of the company’s shares to him. The company built an apartment building on #60 Heydar Abashidze Street in Batumi. It is worth noting that during the construction, the municipality approved almost all the requests of the builder, including modifications to the project’s technical and economic parameters as well as adjustments to the construction permit. In 2020, Nino Devadze represented Rego Group during the registration of real estate at the National Agency of Public Registry.